Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher, Armaan Kohli, Swara Bhaskar
Rating: 3 stars
Over the years, director Sooraj Barjatya has established a certain tone and genre of cinema that he makes catering to his audience. He sets a large family in place, makes the main character suffer throughout the film and picks his villain from within the family. However, amidst the drama, he brings out the core values of loving your immediate family and extended ones too. With Salman Khan’s return as the character ‘Prem’, in a Sooraj Bharjatya film after two decades, this premise has only become magnificent.
The magic of Sooraj is that he weaves his characters so well, that to give away anything about them in the review would give away a lot about the film and the plot. Sooraj, who has a strong belief in family value and its issues is not embarrassed to paint it on the big screen, no matter how outdated the idea may appear to some. The canvas is beautifully set amidst palaces, royal culture, cars and a kingdom. The kingdom is run by Vijay Singh (Salman Khan) who is struggling to keep his family together. He tries his best to keep everyone happy but is aware that his other siblings (Neil, Swara and Aashika) don’t think like him. He trusts his old loyalist Diwan (Anupam Kher), who is what 'Kattappa' was to Bahubali, someone who he shares all his sorrows with.
Salman Khan, plays two distinct characters and both leave an impact. In fact, he is so convincing that the long, and in few cases, dragging scenes, also appear entertaining. At the interval point, the film will leave you with a bitter taste about the family’s history that unfolds so seamlessly. Although emotionally charged with its painful twists, you do tend to wonder if the songs for every situation were really required. But Sooraj, has worked his way in the background, and kept the story going. What he conveys through the song could have easily been said in few dialogues. But that’s how Sooraj has a put his unique stamp in filmmaking in all these years. The same goes for the production banner, Rajshri Films.
This banner also makes their heroines look very Indian and rooted. The leading face in this case, Sonam Kapoor (Maithili), impresses in her role of a princess. In fact, the chemistry between Salman and Sonam is refreshingly different, easy to the eye and fun to watch. Therefore, it makes the love story entertaining because the two have their cute moments in many situations around the film. But after a point, towards the end of the film Sonam gets the director’s cue wrong where she is unable to convincingly emote sad scenes.
Talking about songs, music director Himesh Reshammiya has very cleverly brought the essence of the 90’s but still makes it sound contemporary. They fit well in the situation and the lyrics simplify the story narration around which the songs are based. But you still wish there were fewer songs. The background music is good as it makes lot of scenes stand out and keeps you glued. Nitin Desai’s work of creating palaces and recreating the royal living is commendable. The cinematography also helps it look larger than life and makes the movie look grand.
With everything seeming right, and bringing out his point of living together as a family, director Sooraj goes a bit overboard. After the family has let go off their differences, Sooraj goes on with additional scenes of bonding which are painful to watch. The film does give you a few 'values' to take back home, but it takes some patience to sit through it, especially the second half. For all those who love family sagas, drama and 90’s style romance, this is one royal ride you might want to take.